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The UAE takes steps towards modernization by decriminalizing alcohol and suicide

The United Arab Emirates has taken a step towards modernization and has removed penal laws regarding alcohol consumption and suicide. The move is part of a year-long bid to modernize the country and promote progressive Islam. The country announced over the weekend that it had effectively decriminalized alcohol and suicide. The UAE also decided to remove “honor crime” provisions that allowed men to receive lighter sentences for crimes if they assaulted female relatives to protect the reputation of their families.

The UAE has become increasingly liberal over recent years, attracting expatriates. The UAE also boasts an extremely high foreign population, roughly 8 million people in a country of 10 million. During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic fallout, the UAE adopted retirement programs and implemented measures to make the path to naturalization more achievable to entice foreigners to remain in the country. The progressiveness may make the UAE an outlier in the Middle East but will attract more diplomacy and allyship from their progressive European neighbors.

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